People who dream when they sleep at night, know of a special kind of
happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstacy, and ease of
heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of
dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of
the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the
artist, who has no will, who is free of will.
This quote struck me, among other beautifully written passages from the book, because the idea of being free of will as a positive emotion had never occured to me. Free will, we learned in eighteenth-century literature, was touted by many writers to be the goal of the self-determined human. But will, as in "will-power" or "by the force of his own will" does seem to have a relationship with dictatorship, as Blixen suggests. After all, haven't some of the world's greatest man-made disasters been a result of unbreakable will? Hitler, for example, or that idiot we have in office now? A dream then, if it is a good one, does feel like freedom in a pure sense and is, possibly, the closest we might get to breaking the limits of mortality.